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17ers overcome shaky start to take game one
Locals down Post 111, 11-2
Russ
POST 17S RUSS RADCLIFF slides home with the first run from Mondays state playoff win while Horry County catcher Dylan Jordan awaits on the late throw to the plate. Game three of the best-of-five series is tonight at 7 p.m. at American Legion Park in Camden. - photo by C-I photo by Tom Didato
Every person has their breaking point … coaches, especially.Craig Smith’s came in the top of the fourth inning with his Kershaw County American Legion baseball team trailing visiting Horry County, 2-1, in Monday’s state playoff series opener at American Legion Park in Camden.After having seen his team commit its fourth error in two innings, the third-year Post 17 boss called a time out and changed up his team’s defense on the fly, so to speak.The moves paid off handsomely as the locals would score nine unanswered runs to take the 11-2 victory in the best-of-five first round series which moved to Conway on Tuesday for game two before returning to Camden tonight for game three at 7 p.m. How the hosts only trailed by one run after three and a half innings in which they botched two ground balls and a pair of throws was not so much a mystery when you consider that Zac Bowers was on the mound. The unflappable right-hander did not let the defensive miscues bother him as he improved to 6-1 on the season by throwing three-hit ball for eight and a third innings before handing the ball to Jake Brazell, who retired the final two batters of the night.“If Zac doesn’t pitch as well as he does,” Smith said of Bowers’ cool demeanor on the mound in the first half of this game, “we’re down 5-1 or, 6-1, early.“I’m just so proud of Zac and the effort that he gives us every time he goes to the mound. He goes out with that mentality that he’s going to refuse to lose.”Bowers, an Erskine signee, finished his 99-pitch stint by fanning five batters and walking only one.Accuracy was hardly the long suit for Post 111 on this night as a trio of Horry County pitchers combined to allow just six hits but walked twice that many while hitting a pair of batters in a game in which the hosts were finally able to put this one away with a seven-run bottom of the eighth.Smith was extremely proud of the patience shown by his batters who did not swing at very many bad pitches on a night in which they only struck out three times.“We did a good job of being selective at the plate,” Smith said of an offense which had just six hits, all singles.

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